Grains
 
Laura Stec - Innovative Cuisine
Full Circle Food Cycle

FOOD AND THE ENVIRONMENT

One of the most positive effects you can have on the environment begins on your dinner plate.

In 1999, the Union of Concerned Scientists studied what daily human activities created the most detrimental effects on the environment. They determined the Top Three Most Harmful Consumer Activities were:

  • Driving cars
  • Eating factory-farmed beef and animal products
  • Eating non-organic foods

Since then, much more research has been done on this topic, but surprisingly these three areas still top the list. One reason for their longevity and impact is that all three require an enormous amount of natural resources, especially non-renewable, polluting fossil fuels.

The Full Circle Food Cycle teaches us how improve the food system and reduce its environmental impact by looking at the connections between:

  1. Production: Is our food grown and produced using regenerative agriculture, local family farms, smart energy and sustainable business?
  2. Distribution: Can we reduce the miles and energy it takes to get food to our dinner plates?
  3. Execution: What do I do with my food after I get it? Do I cook whole foods at home more than I eat processed, prepared foods? And after I am done, what do I do with my food waste and packaging? Does it feed back into and support production?

Did you know:

  • There are over 2500 different fruits and vegetables on the planet and the average American eats less than 20 different types.
  • The average meals travel 1200 miles to get to your dinner plate. (C5 #1)
  • It takes 10 times more fossil fuels to produce a calorie of beef than a calorie of grain protein (CH1 #3)
  • Approximately  22 billion pounds (10 billion kg) of oil-based fertilizer is used annually just to grown grain to feed U.S. cows. Since 22 billion pounds is hard to fathom, think of it as 18.2 million average size cows all piled up on top of each other! (CH1 #4)
  • Each year the U.S. throws away 98 percent of the 380 billion plastic bags we use, along with the 12 million barrels of oil it takes to produce them. (CH1 #11).
  • Most Americans still eat dinner at home, but less than one third of us make our meals from scratch.
  • Nearly half of all the food harvested each year in the U.S. doesn't get eaten - it just gets thrown away. (CH1 #10)